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Tuesday night football preview – Cardiff City, Newport County, Wrexham

Cardiff City manager Sabri Lamouchi expects Birmingham City to throw the lot at his team on Tuesday night – arms, legs, boots and heads as well as the kitchen sink.

It’s a match that Cardiff can ill afford to lose, but if they are to break their duck after 14 winless games – three of which have been under their new French manager – then the new boss reckons it will be because they have coped with the physicality coming their way at St. Andrew’s.

Cardiff lost 3-1 at home to Middlesbrough last weekend, while Birmingham earned arguably their best result since September – a 2-0 victory over in-form West Brom.

That meant a double over their rivals, who they had beaten 3-2 at The Hawthorns back in September.

The physical Lukas Jutkiewicz is likely to spearhead the Blues’ attack against the Bluebirds and Lamouchi admits: “Birmingham will be a different type of game (to Middlesbrough).

“Probably more direct, probably more duels, more long balls, more fighting in the middle.

“Even for the set-pieces, because they are a good team. They had a very good result against another good team, West Brom. They have quality.”

Birmingham will be firm favourites as they are coming off the back of back-to-back victories over Swansea City and then the Baggies.

But, surely, Cardiff have to break their duck at some stage in 2023 – or, make that at some stage since November when they last picked up three points.

The problem is clear for Lamouchi – a lack of goals as Cardiff are the lowest scorers in the Championship with just 22 goals in 31 matches.

It means Lamouchi’s men now have 15 games to save themselves from dropping down to League One, but they have the worst current form of any club in the division, including the three teams below them.

In League Two, Newport County host Stevenage on Tuesday night, looking to continue their recent upsurge with a third successive victory.

County beat Swindon Town, 2-1, then scrapped out a 1-0 victory at Barrow last weekend, but are likely to find it tougher against a Stevenage team riding high in second place in the table.

The Hertfordshire club, though, have wobbled a little lately, losing 3-2 at home to Bradford City in their last game after being held 0-0 at Sutton United.

Throw in their 3-1 FA Cup defeat at Stoke City and Stevenage are winless in their last three matches, although they will still be favourites to overcome County.

County are now eight points clear of the relegation zone and 13 shy of the play-off places with a game in hand.

In the National League, Wrexham are likely to be tested more than they have been in the league lately when they host Woking, just one place behind them in third.

In recent weeks, it’s been less about which Wrexham team might turn up as who will be latest Hollywood celebrity.

Last week, Will Ferrell showed up for a pint in the pub next door, then watched Wrexham turn over Wealdstone, 3-1.

Maybe it will be Ben Stiller or Jim Carrey who rock up to see them play Woking and although Phil Parkinson’s side have won every home league game this season, Woking boss Darren Sarll admits it’s as much the atmosphere and occasion that visitors now have to deal with.

“Wrexham has become, for the teams in the division now, almost a glamour tie,” says Sarll.

“It’s 9,000 fans in the ground. They create a very, very big atmosphere and there’s a huge expectation on that team to dominate everyone that goes there and they’ve done that this year.

“We’ll definitely go and try to conquer that supposedly insurmountable mountain when it comes around.”

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